The Ultimate T-Shirt Design Placement Guide for 2024

The Ultimate T-Shirt Design Placement Guide for 2024

Welcome to the world of t-shirts – arguably, one the most popular pieces of clothing in the world. With an expanding market, you might be tempted to become part of it by creating your own t-shirts to sell online. 

But before you do, you should know the shirt design placement specifics so your logo, text, or artwork looks their best.

Consider whether you’ll use screen printing, direct-to-garment printing (DTG), or the sublimation method, as these impact the final result. 

Before deciding between a front logo placement, back, or sleeve designs for your shirt, get to know the tips and tricks for proper design placement. 

Let’s jump right into the nitty-gritty.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. This comes at no additional cost to you.

T-Shirt Design Terminology 101

We’ll begin our t-shirt design placement guide with terminology. We’ll cover three primary print placement metrics: print dimensions, print size dimensions, and find out what an anchor point is.

We’ll also look into the specifics of how to print images on shirts, including:

  • Print file terminology.
  • Why print-on-demand platforms are great for starting a t-shirt business.
  • The measures to consider when importing your graphic designs to a printing format.

Print Dimensions

Print dimensions regulate and measure the design relative to the t-shirt. Designers use some of these terms interchangeably, but it’s helpful to understand the specifics:

  • Print location. The area on the t-shirt itself – front, chest, collar, or back of shirt design placement. The location will frame and determine your print placement.
  • Print placement. The measured position of your design in the print location. It will vary depending on the size of the garment and your own choice or preference.
  • Print area. The total surface area of your design. It defines where to place the ink and whether it covers fabric features like seams, pockets, and buttons.
  • Print size. The exact measurement for when your design is printed on the fabric. Size measurements define the necessary print file quality and appropriate dimensions.

Size Dimensions

Knowing the different size types helps define your preferred print location and structures your ideas:

  • Standard size. The default size is determined by Print Providers, usually centered and based on a garment’s average print area. Your designs will be the standard size without a special request or modification.
  • Oversize print. Any measurement above standard. You can extend your artwork beyond regular limits if a design requires closer detail or a more prominent placement.
  • Maximum size. The physical size limit that a fabric printer can manage on a garment. You can request or implement full size, provided your design has a high resolution to remain sharp.

Anchor Point

An anchor gives your design a fixed center point. It can overlap with the technical midpoint of rectangular or circular designs, but anchor points are most useful for non-symmetrical art pieces.

Defining anchor points provides print consistency, especially if you use shirt templates.

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When planning to sell digital art on shirts, the main thing to note is that you have to translate your digital artwork into a print-capable file. This means your print size – the physical dimensions of the final product – needs to be correctly defined in dots per inch (DPI).

Quick tip

Check out this handy guide for perfecting your file sizing.

DPI is a print resolution measurement, like pixels for digital images, highlighting the richness of the ink throughout the design.

The higher the DPI, the sharper the final print. To find and change your image DPI, check image properties in Windows File Explorer, Mac Preview, or your preferred graphics design software like Illustrator or GIMP, or even find a handy tool online.

Print-on-demand platforms can facilitate an easy workaround by presenting the optimal pixel and DPI dimensions for printing t-shirts upfront.

Printify’s Product Creator does exactly that by showing the requirements for a particular product before you upload your image, including the best file format for t-shirt printing:

  • Supported file format. Most commonly, the best file format for printing on garments is PNG, but you may also find an option for the JPG file extension.
  • Maximum file size. The allowed disk space of the file, usually in megabytes. The higher the resolution, the higher the file size.
  • Print area size. Recommended print size in pixels and DPI.
  • Maximum resolution. The limit your images can have in pixel resolution.

Our Product Creator determines whether the quality is optimal or needs to be resized and allows you to orient the design placement manually.

These metrics may also include physical measurements like inches or centimeters, giving you a clearer picture of the final design size.

You can always inspect and change your file size and resolution using graphic design software.

It’s time to get excited and put your creativity to the test. This part of our guide will list the top front, back, and sleeve print locations – how they compare, and the average measurements to base your designs on.

It’s important to note that there is no gold standard for a print location. Your print area and design placement will vary based on the t-shirt’s country of origin, manufacturer, template, and size.

We’ll also give a few tips on the perfect placement in terms of symmetry and the average distance you should leave between collars, seams, hems, and your artwork. 

As a rule of thumb, try not to cross fabric barriers unless you’re working with wrap-around or all-over-print designs to maintain clarity and limit distortion.

Design Placement on Front of Shirt

The front of the shirt is the most common print placement location. It’s the view your customers see in the mirror and the design that stands out, even if a custom jacket or dress shirt covers it.

Center Chest Design

Design Placement on Front of Shirt - Center Chest

Let’s begin with the classics. The center chest placement is moderately sized and used in a lot of print manufacturing. It’s about four inches below the collar and usually extends over the top half of the chest.

Use the collar’s center to place your design symmetrically – no front-facing design should overlap with the shoulder seams.

Center chest logo placement is about as safe as you can go for front-facing designs since it presents well with both logos and artistic pieces.

Some shirt sizes will naturally fit better with a specific print location. The center chest placement will likely function better on smaller sizes where the print area skews appropriately to the digital design. 

A full-front design with intricate details might be a better option for larger adult sizes.

Left Chest Placement

Design Placement on Front of Shirt - Left Chest

You’ll want a nice front-facing left chest design placement for clean direct-to-garment logos and brand imagery. You might see right-chest placements occasionally, but the industry standard is on the wearer’s left side.

The left chest location is one of the smaller print areas. Creating a simple design allows customers more freedom to match, layer, and incorporate your shirt into their outfits. Focus on a design without too much detail.

Don’t worry about the correct left chest logo placement, and don’t be intimidated by the asymmetry. Follow the line at its shoulder end and move the design down vertically, leaving about three inches of space from the top, ending the design no lower than the armpit seam.

Full Front Design Placements

Design Placement on Front of Shirt - Full Front

A full front design placement is one of the most common t-shirt design locations. It’s versatile and capable of managing a wide variety of print sizes. This is your go-to for landscape, portrait, and detailed artwork designs placed three to four inches below the collar.

The full-front shirt design size can extend from the chest down to the length of the shirt, varying heavily in height and width.

Note that this placement may create a t-shirt print that’s not fabric-breathable – especially with screen printing. It can create a heavy sheen and uncomfortable sweat spots

When determining your print area, consider playing with negative space and leaving parts of the design ink-free.

Oversize Print: Front

Design Placement on Front of Shirt - Oversize Front

When it comes to non-standard front print sizes, we still have a larger contender that can extend to the bottom hem of the shirt. The oversized t-shirt design placement option is two to three inches below the collar.

An oversized design works best with larger adult t-shirts. Youth shirts and smaller sizes are incapable of holding a large design.

In terms of ink density and breathability, oversize is more prone to negative side effects like sweat spots. A helpful principle is to never overprint in this area. 

You can change the design background to be transparent or leave parts of the design deliberately clean by inverting the color scope. This allows the ink to trace the shape of your design but not fill it.

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Back of Shirt Design Placement

While the back of the t-shirt isn’t often visible, it provides more room for intricate designs and larger frames.

Many custom t-shirts with back designs have a complementary visual on the front. 

Back designs are great for filling space and giving your creations more substance.

Collar/Small Upper Back

Design Placement on Back of Shirt - Collar/Small Upper Back

Let’s move on to one of the most intricate design placements. The back collar print area is best for branding. It’s placed around one inch from the base of the neck collar.

Couple the upper back area with more prominent designs on the front or sleeves. Consider it a watermark or a signature place for your logo.

Since this is one of the smallest placement types, you’ll need an effortless design with fewer details. It doesn’t have to lose its uniqueness – but remember that most people will see it while waiting in lines or sitting behind the wearer, not from afar.

Upper Back

Design Placement on Back of Shirt - Upper Back

The upper back placement is versatile and medium-sized, similar to the front chest area. This placement covers the shoulder-blade region and prioritizes the width of the back for complete visibility, around four inches below the collar.

The t-shirt industry often chooses this placement for employee uniforms since it naturally covers an eye-level position. Event organizers, security staff, and any design important enough to be noticed in a crowd take the upper back as a standard.

You may also see more typographic design elements in this location. Common uses are to promote events, businesses, or a specific cause. A non-standard equivalent is the lower back area when the design is printed slightly lower than usual. While it might draw a curious eye, it can’t help but be prone to creases and folds.


Design Placement on Back of Shirt - Full-Back

The full-back design placements are popular with t-shirt graphic designers, much like their front alternative. Since the back is usually flatter and more forgiving than the front, the full-back design can cover a larger print area for your designs, starting around three to four inches from the collar.

This is your go-to for grandiose design projects, with many colors and intricate details that deserve a larger canvas. Just remember that a back design placement rarely exists on its own. You’ll often see it complemented by a simpler logo placement on shirt sleeves or the chest. 

A great example is a sports jersey with a large name on the back of the shirt and a smaller one on the left chest.

Sleeve Logo Placement

Sleeve Logo Placement

The sleeve placement location provides its own added design benefit, but not all Print Providers offer this option. 

Judge the placement location from the hem’s far center, usually one to three inches above it. One inch is usually the preferred distance for a standard design since it gives more room before the border on the left and right seams.

As with the left chest placement, a single sleeve design usually goes on the wearer’s left, but it’s common to find the same design on both sides.

Since it’s a smaller area, consider a simple design or a brand logo. It’s a preferred option for business sponsors

Another less standard location is on or over the shoulders. This placement location adds a bit of flair to a larger and more intricate design in the front or back.

FAQ: Design Placement on Shirts

Place the logo on the center chest or left chest, ensuring it aligns symmetrically with the collar and is placed about four inches below it for center placement. However, feel free to get creative, as the rules aren’t set in stone.

Logos are typically left chest design elements, aligning with the shoulder end and placed about three inches from the top.

Select a printing location (front, back, sleeve), make sure your design fits within the print area, and adjust the image resolution (DPI) for optimal clarity and quality. Ensure accurate placement for a symmetrical look. 

Keep in mind that designs need to be adjusted to garment size. For example, if you design XL shirts, they will be printed larger on S.

Place pocket designs over or near the pocket area on the left side, ensuring alignment with the pocket’s dimensions for a cohesive and balanced appearance.


There you have it – your complete guide to creating well-placed designs.  

Design placement can vary significantly, but you’ll likely find wholesale Print Providers and popular Shopify t-shirt stores commonly use these standards.

As a new print location expert, your main takeaway should be to plan how your designs engage with the print surface and how to measure and frame print area dimensions.

Make your print-on-demand journey easier by placing your designs where they look best. Good luck with the final steps of your design process!

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  1. HAF Co. New York Clothing
    February 23

    Has anyone figured out how to properly place left pocket area logos? I can not figure it out and it is becoming so expensive to order. Nothing is in inches and I cant figure out the percentages to use.

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 28

      Hi there,
      Perhaps this article might be helpful:
      For more assistance please reach out to our Support team 👍

  2. Vic
    January 31

    Hello, the average size range provided for the “Full back” 10″ – 14″ wide x 6″-5″ tall doesn’t seem to mirror the image on the t-shirt. The image on t-shirt implies a much greater range for tall. What am I missing?

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 7

      Hi Vic,
      Please get in touch with our Support team to figure out an answer to this question!

  3. Dawn
    August 18

    The placement holder is 2″ below the bottom of the collar. We’ve been told that the center chest placement should be 4″ from the collar and full front should be 3″-4″ from the collar; however, we are given percentages to aid us with top position. It would be so much easier if everything was just in inches.

    1. Martha Simmons
      August 21

      Hi Dawn,
      Thank you for your honest feedback! We will share this with the responsible team, so they can consider making the necessary changes to make things easier.

  4. Barbara
    April 22

    A guideline for the Left Chest pocket area would be very helpful.
    How do you print the left chest pocket area and also the back for the full size image ?

    1. Martha Simmons
      April 24

      Hi Barbara,
      Thank you for your request, we will share this with the team, so they can consider adding pocket area guidelines.
      I’m not sure if I understand your question, but I recommend reaching out to our merchant support team for more specific information, as they are best equipped to assist you. You can use the chat on our website or email them to [email protected].

  5. Emily
    March 14

    How big does a logo need to be on chest measurements are so dern confusing ! With the clicker if I set it at 5 it looks too small then when I get it looking normal It says 14 inches ??? I’m so lost please help !!!!!!

    1. Florence Kingsley
      March 16

      Hi there!
      Our Mockup Generator shows the L-sized apparel and allows you to place the design on that size only. To achieve a consistent visual outcome across all garment sizes, we will automatically scale down the design for smaller apparel sizes; however, it will not be scaled up for sizes larger than L. The design is scaled down using the same aspect ratio across all sizes. Please see more information here.

  6. Elsy
    February 22

    Hello! I have a design idea for the lower back of a tank top of t-shirt. I want my small design to sit in the lower right side for a subtle effect … kind of like a tattoo. Would I be able to do this on Printify templates?

    1. Florence Kingsley
      February 23

      Hi there!
      In that case I would suggest to check out our AOP shirts, please see the options here.

  7. Judy McCann
    February 16

    Can you give me recommendation for horizontal sleeve placement on a raglan sweatshirt?

  8. Nan
    February 5

    Can you please add a guideline for the pocket print placement on the left chest? This would be EXTREMELY helpful and take the guesswork out of placing our designs.

    1. Florence Kingsley
      February 7

      Hi there!
      Thank you for your suggestion. We have noted it and passed to the team in charge for future consideration.

  9. Ziv
    January 6

    Hi, I’ve seen new designs on Etsy with a minimalist text printed around the neck collar. How can this be done with Printify?

    1. Martha Simmons
      January 6

      Hi Ziv,
      It’s possible that those products are all-over print (AOP) products. You can find AOP shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies in our catalog.

  10. Greg
    December 28

    Is there a way to tell inches from the bottom of the collar when placing a logo for center chest design? Percentages aren’t as helpful. Is there a guide that explains it? Thanks!

    1. Martha Simmons
      December 29

      Hi Greg,
      Unisex, women and men shirts (except for Raglan Sleeves) it’s 2″ in front and 3″ – back. These are the distances from the bottom of the collar till the top of the print area, however, please keep in mind that there is an allowed tolerance of 0.5″ since the products are placed on pallets manually.

  11. Kirsten
    September 8

    Printify needs to change the design program to allow for measurement of the garment, and easier design for non-center placements. It is costly to order proofs to make sure screens are in the proper location on varying sizes.

    1. Florence Kingsley
      September 9

      Hi there Kirsten!
      Thank you for your feedback, it is well noted. Our team is constantly working on improvements across the whole platform, I’m sure that in the near future there will be more improvements, so bear with us.

  12. Abbey
    August 12

    It would be so helpful if we could measure in inches in the design program.

    1. Martha Simmons
      August 15

      Hi Abbey,
      Thank you for the feedback, I will forward it to the responsible team, so they can consider possible updates.


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